The agreement extends US nuclear submarine technology to Australia, as well as cyber defense, applied artificial intelligence and underwater capabilities.
Australia on Friday shrugged off China’s ire over its decision to acquire US nuclear-powered submarines and vowed to uphold the rule of law in the airspace and waters where Beijing has made multiple highly controversial claims.
US President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced the new Australia-US-Britain defense alliance, extending US nuclear submarine technology to Australia, as well as cyber defense, applied artificial intelligence and capabilities. submarines.
China has its own “very substantive nuclear submarine construction program,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in an interview with radio station 2GB on Friday.
In a series of media interviews, the Australian leader said his government was reacting to the changing dynamics in the Asia-Pacific region, where territory is increasingly contested and competition is increasing.
“We are interested in ensuring that international waters are always international waters and international skies are international skies, and that the rule of law is applied equally in all these places,” he said.
“That is very important whether it is for trade, whether it is for things like submarine cables, for airplanes and where they can fly. I mean, that is the order that we must preserve. That is what peace and stability provide and that is what we seek to achieve. “
China claims nearly the entire resource-rich South China Sea, through which trillions of dollars in maritime trade pass annually, rejecting competing claims from Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
China has also imposed tough economic sanctions on Australian products in a variety of sectors.
Morrison said the new defense alliance, announced after more than 18 months of discussions with the United States and Britain, will be permanent.
During a visit to Washington to chat with his American counterparts, Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton was even more dismissive of the reaction from some Chinese officials and government-backed media, describing it as “self-defeating, immature and downright embarrassing. “.
He said Australia was willing to host more US Marines in rotation through the northern city of Darwin and wanted to see an improvement in air capacity.